Let’s start with those basic metrics we discussed briefly in Chapter 1. We defined conversion rate as the total number of conversions divided by the number of visitors to your site.

But are we talking Total Visitors or Unique Visitors?

Think of it this way…

You operate a brick-and-mortar storefront and a customer comes in to check out one of your products. The clerk does a good job, and she seems pleased with the quality. She gets an important phone call, however, so she goes outside to take it. Or she forgets her wallet in her car. Or she goes to the shop down the street to see how their product compares.

She may eventually come back to your store and each time she does so counts as a single visit. If she stops in three times, she’s made three visits. She is, of course, still the same person–one unique visitor making three visits back to the store.

This is similar to how people shop online.

They sometimes look around a bit, they often get distracted and check out the competition. And just like it wouldn’t make sense for a salesclerk in the above scenario to be reprimanded for not making a sale during each of the customer’s several visits, online stores shouldn’t expect to make a sale for each visitor represented by the Total Visitor count.

For this reason, many people choose to use Unique Visitors when determining their Conversion Rate. But whatever metric you ultimately decide on, consistency is key. It you decide Total Visitors gives a more accurate measure of your conversion rate, be sure to use it consistently or your trends will be off.

But there is a caveat: Currently “uniqueness” is measured by setting a persistent cookie, which isn’t perfect or always reliable. [1]

You must also determine what time period you want to use in determining your Conversion Rate. Again, consistency is key here. Dividing a week’s Unique Visitors by the number of people who converted that week, and you’ve got that week’s (or day’s, or month’s) conversion rate. It’s not a good idea to add up daily unique visitors to make up a week or month. [2]

Now that you know your current Conversion Rate, you can begin looking for barriers in your Conversion Funnel.

Identifying barriers in your conversion funnel

As we discussed in Chapter 1, at its most basic level Conversion Rate Optimization is simply finding out why visitors aren’t converting and fixing it. Rather than a series of guesses and hunches, CRO is a “process of diagnosis, hypothesis and testing”.[3]

Any CRO strategy should begin with you putting yourself in your visitors’ shoes and looking closely at your site—specifically your Conversion Funnel. Where are the confusing or difficult points? These are the barriers standing in your visitors’ path to conversion.

Here are some areas you should take a look at:
  • To start, is your Call to Action clear and easy to find?
  • Are your Graphics relevant, well-placed, clean and unique? Or are they distracting and overwhelming in number? Do you have a lot of unnecessary (or maybe misplaced or not-yet-necessary) text?
  • Take a look at your site’s Usability. Can users easily search your site for what they’re looking for? If you’re in e-commerce, is it easy to complete your checkout process? How many pages and clicks does it take to complete the key conversions you’re measuring? Is there a mobile version of your website? Keep your navigation, registration, contact and payment uncluttered and easy to find and operate.
  • Is it clear to your visitors that their Security is your top priority? Is it easy to trust your site?
  • Are your Search Engine Optimization efforts up-to-date, accurate and relevant? Are you using accurate titles, relevant keywords and proper metadata? Images should have correct names and keywords should be used properly. Titles should be clear and descriptive. If these items are not relevant, people may be coming to your site looking for something you don’t offer, while those who seek your services are unable to find you.
  • Do you have Customer Testimonials letting visitors know how happy others are with your services? Social proof is a powerful conversion rate driver.[4]

But this list is by no means comprehensive; and what succeeds for one site might actually hurt the user experience (and therefore conversion rate) on another. This is because each site has its own unique mission, strengths and challenges. You may read reports of amazing success from changing button colors but it’s important to realize that generalized tweaks like this don’t resolve more serious problems like the ones listed above.

Barriers in your Conversion Funnel will still exist, and there’s only so much you and your team can do to identify them. Ultimately, you will have to reach out to your users and ask them what about your site isn’t working (more on that in Chapter 5).

For both types of conversions, your conversion rate hinges on 6 factors:

  • Value proposition— This is the sum of all the costs and benefits of taking action. What is the overall perceived benefit in your customer’s mind? Those perceived costs and benefits make up your value proposition.
  • Relevance— How closely does the content on your page match what your visitors are expecting to see? How closely does your value proposition match their needs?
  • Clarity— How clear is your value proposition, main message and call-to-action?
  • Anxiety— Are there elements on your page (or missing from your page) that create uncertainty in your customer’s mind?
  • Distraction— What is the first thing you see on the page? Does it help or hurt your main purpose? What does the page offer that is conflicting or off-target?
  • Urgency— Why should your visitors take action now? What incentives, offers, tone and presentation will move them to action immediately?

Chapter 3 Notes





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